Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Time is flying

So much has happened over the past couple months! First Facebook has robbed me of my desire to post...but because this is as close to a journal as I get...I'm going to post even repeats from Facebook. So time is flying by and I'm feeling so old lately or at least feeling like I should feel old given that I have FIVE kids and a THIRTY year-old husband. Yep Daniel just turned 30 and we had a little surprise party for him with some of our friends....even though the picture looks like maybe we have no friends.

The kids got to see Santa downtown Normal to start off this Christmas season. The paper said there'd be all kinds of fun Christmasy things for everyone....but this is all we found. Oh well seeing Santa for 30 seconds is better than nothing.

The weekend after Thanksgiving we decided to decorate our Christmas tree. As you can see it only made sense to decorate the top third of the tree. Henry and Max spend their spare time pulling off ornaments and shoving pine cones in the tree.

Maxwell and Henry have really ramped up their efforts at being destructive lately. While I was on the way out the other day, Henry spilled a half gallon of milk all over the kitchen floor and a few days later Max decided to lead the way in pulling all of the keys off our laptop keyboard...AGAIN...sigh.

Last year when I found out at around bedtime that Andrew's school was having a Christmas hat spirit day, I decided to use what I had and make him a santa/elf hat. This year I got 2 more hats for the other kids and figured they'd all be jolly. Turns out my hat isn't the most coveted hat this year but somehow they managed to pose without ripping each other's heads off to get the hat they wanted.

Max loves dogs...and this one won't bite him so bonus. We thought this looked like it came straight out of a catalog...minus the blurriness.

When I got my new Iphone I came across these pictures from my old phone from when the twins were babies. The first one is Max and the Second one is Henry. They were so little and elf-like. :)

We had another birthday in the family recently. Little Ashley turned 6! And if you can't make people look silly on their birthday when can you?!

Henry and Max spent time during the birthday party in their favorite chair at Grandpa's house. Henry was very serious about watching his show and not being disturbed.

I got the twins moose hats recently...and Henry was kind enough to keep it on for more than 5 seconds. Max was not so kind. I bet he'll change his tune when it's -20 outside and it's his only hope.

And finally the van has also been dressed up for the holidays. To my shock, many people have not embraced its new look and in fact are embarrassed of it. Do I think it looks classy?...No. Do I think it spreads Christmas cheer and makes things more fun for my kids?...YES. So, the costume stays. There aren't many good things about a big brown van, but why can't its uncanny resemblance to a reindeer be one of them?

Monday, October 31, 2011

Trick or Treat

The windy day we had our trunk-or-treat at the church....the picture gives you an idea of just how windy it was.

Daniel and the troops assembling on the porch before going out to get some candy!

Grandma and Grandpa with the kiddies before trick-or-treating. Pretend like Ashley's eyes are open and this is a perfect picture. We had to be quick because Max was terrified of Andrew the werewolf. :)

Holly was a cowgirl....a goofy cowgirl.

The two most courageous looking super heroes I've ever met.

The three of them trick-or-treating together.

I'm a very intellegent Occupy Wall Streeter.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Fall Fun

Last weekend the kids and I and their grandparents went to Tanner's Orchard. It was a beautiful day so needless to say other people had the same idea for fun. It was crowded. But, we all still had a great time. Max and Henry's favorite part by far...besides whining was feeding the animals. Max would get so excited every time the goats would get near.

At first Henry was really shy so when he got food to feed the animals he would just run up and throw it at them and then quickly run away. But by the end he started warming up and feeding the goats more than food.

Andrew and Ashley spent a fair amount of time running on top of the straw bail maze but stopped for me to take a photo.

The girls road in style while their grandma peddled.

The kids all ran to the top of a big hill...even though you can't tell.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

I am blessed

Today was a rough day. Daniel taught a class last night...and then again this morning...followed by a church meeting which made me a single mom of 5 for more time than I would like. Okay so any amount of time as a single mom would be too much for me. Anyway, Henry and Max really make things hard. They are soooo adorable and so sweet but they can be real bears...hard to believe...I KNOW. I anticipated these couple of days being hard...so I tried hard to keep a positive attitude and get through it. Things were going as planned...hard but manageable and then tonight at a friends my boys took turns seeing who could cry the loudest...after I spilled a cup of milk in my newly purchased...over-priced purse and just never a break. I had had enough....I was feeling sorry for myself. After getting home and finally getting everyone in bed I came down to start cleaning the kitchen when I looked over at a piece of decor I bought today. It's the word Blessed cut out of wood in big black cursive letters. I had plans of putting it on the mantle and set it there earlier today. When I looked over to see how it looked I realized it blended in with the background. I nearly missed it. Then the big lesson from this hit me. So often I nearly miss the blessings in my life. I get so focused on everything else that I don't take time to really see and appreciate just how blessed I am. So that's my thought for tonight...I need to make sure I am aware of and grateful for how truly blessed I am. By the way. I will be moving the picture up so that the word Blessed stands out....I won't miss it. :D

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

dilly bars

After Ashley's soccer practice tonight, the coach surprised everyone with dilly bars from dairy queen. The biggest surprise of all was that he gave one to Henry who acted like it was a trophy or an award and was grinning from ear to ear for quite a while after accepting this prestigious award. Here's a little video of the happy times with the dilly bar. Also, here's a tip for anyone who wants to stay on Henry's good side....Do NOT take a bite out of Henry's dilly bar ever. Not even to show him how to do it....he may never forgive you...and if he does...he will never forget. :)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Good Question?

Holly's grandma bought her some new clothes recently which she was excited to wear to preschool today. When she was having some trouble getting dressed this morning, she came to me and asked, "Can you please help me get on my dress?". I replied, "Oh Holly that's not a dress....it's a shirt." Then Holly appropriately asked, "Okay mom is this shirt made out of dress?" She is always thinking...that Holly. We love her and her astute observations. Sorry the picture is blurry...my ipod was all I had.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

postworthy events

We've been busy the last few weeks with the start of school for Andrew and Ashley(as you know)...and preschool for Holly. Here are a few first day of school pictures. Must have been quite sunny.

Those were some bittersweet days. They'll always be my babies though. Andrew and Ashley also started soccer a couple of weeks ago and had their 2nd and 3rd games today. It's definitely kept us busy but it's been a lot of fun too. I love going to the games and watching them play. Henry and Max love it too. They kept running on the field to let the coach know that they were ready to go in at any time....truly dedicated players.

Henry and Max love a good soccer game. They get in plenty of practice while waiting for their call to go in from the coach.

Henry is such a sweet and playful guy!

The soccer fields are right next to the airport runways so the boys get to see lots of airplanes too. yay!

Finally Andrew recently was the "star of the week" at school and he had to bring in 12 pictures that told about who he was. It was fun going back through old pictures. here are a couple.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Summer of Carly

Today was a sad day in the Ames' household. Carly left to go back to Idaho. I feel like I lost a friend today. :( Okay so that was way too dramatic. Of course I didn't lose a friend....there's still texting, yearly visits, etc. But it was a joy to have her around and she will certainly be missed. I've decided to name this summer in honor of Carly's visit....the Summer of Carly. Last summer was the Summer of the Twins...they ruled our lives. The summer before that was the Summer of Building our New House. And the list goes on. Anyway, here are some fun memories from this summer and things I will miss.

1. Carly watching movies with Daniel and I and NEVER failing to fall asleep. You can count on Carly to sleep through just about any movie.

2. Carnival rides at Grady's that Carly is still young enough to handle while Daniel and I have decided we can no longer stomach rides such as the Tilt-a-whirl. The kids were grateful to have someone fun to ride with them. Here's a picture of fun times at Grady's.

3. The time Carly and I went to McDonald's and thought it was so cute to see Max and Henry drinking from a big person cup. I said it was awfully nice of Carly to share her drink with them...and she said that's your drink right?....We both looked at each other in horror. Fun times. A picture of this momentous occasion. The boys with a complete strangers slobbered on drink. :P

4. When Carly went with me against all rational thought to Ashley's school on the first day of kindergarten and consoled me after breaking down in the office. She assured me everyone has embarrassing breakdowns. Sooo glad she was there but then maybe I wouldn't have gone if I didn't have Carly with me to watch the little kids in the van while I went in. So of course a part of me blames Carly for the whole incident. ;)

5.The time(like 24 hours ago) when Carly sweat buckets with all 5 of our children so that Daniel and I could go to the Temple together. It was HOT outside. We are very grateful to her for that. We all also learned that our family is not ready to be in public yet! :D

6. Carly and I were also in the church nursery together every week. We got to hear some pretty crazy stuff from some of the kids. One kid assured us his parents aren't married and he's allowed to lick himself at home whenever he wants. Carly also got to hear many solos by me during singing time and lots of interruptions during songs with me saying "Sit in your chair" or "Please don't pick your nose".

7. One night Carly, a date, Daniel, and I had a double date at our house. We played frisbee and Daniel pegged me square in the forehead with it. Everyone had a good laugh and then we all played Beatle's Rockband. Daniel and I took turns singing and I'm pretty sure I'm the worst singer on the planet.

8. Also, for anyone who doesn't know...Carly can sleep through anything. We'll have fond memories of the blaring alarm clock going off on Saturday mornings...and afternoons for that matter. Carly tells me she has to set like 5 alarms just to make sure she gets up. She was never late though to her multiple babysitting jobs. Amazing.

9. We all went to visit Stephen one weeknight and went out to eat at Monical's. Max and Henry were both like Godzilla at times during the dinner...climbing around and trashing the place. It was fun but mostly stressful. Here's Stephen, Carly, and Daniel in the parking lot outside.

We had so many good times this summer. We'll miss Carly.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Not my finest hour

Over the last hour or so I've managed to do a lot of things that I'm less than proud of. In fact, I'm mostly horribly embarrassed of. At least I could share these moments with my SIL Carly. That way not only will I always remember it....she will too.;)
Today was the first full day of school for Ashley. She's not the oldest so I didn't think much of it. As she was packing her lunch this morning though I started to worry a little bit. She packed 3 things that needed to be opened...usually by me...not today though. But whatever she grabbed her lunch and hopped on the bus without a tear....from either of us. I'm not one of those moms who cries on the first day of school. Anyway, round 11 I started worrying that she wouldn't be able to open her food and since she's shy, she won't ask for help. Yes there's help I know...but I also know Ashley and that she doesn't like talking to unfamiliar people. At 11:30 I called and asked Daniel if it'd be crazy to stop in to make sure she got her food opened ok. and "Yes...it would be crazy". "She'll be fine...there's lots of help...are you really that worried about her?" silence. And cue the tears. I started crying and said we'll talk later. Should've stopped there but no I asked Carly, my SIL, to go with me to the school so I could stop in. 5 minutes later I'm walking in the office. Everything would have been fine if I could have gone straight to the cafeteria...but no I have to stop and explain why I'm there(I do appreciate their attempts to keep out crazies). I say "Hi...hi...hi" followed by breakdown. Great now I'm crying in the office....they're used to that...5 year-olds come in all the time crying. Problem....I'm not 5. I'm supposed to be an adult who can pull myself together and not show up like a loony to my kids first day of school crying in the office. It was surreal. Right out of a movie...a horror or a comedy?....still undecided. How did they react? They said oh are you ok?...do you want to go to a conference room in the back?(aka please hide yourself before you scare everyone). I managed to pull myself together and say I just wanted to check on Ash and I'm so sorry for crying. They directed me to the playground where she would be playing in a few minutes. Lunch was over....and I was a wreck. So I quietly walked back to the van and told Carly the whole embarrassing story while heading to Mcdonald's to drown my sorrows in saturated fat. Pretty sure not many moms can top that embarrassing story.

The truth is...it's hard to watch your kids grow up. I will always miss their sweet baby faces...their sweet little voices....their sweet little hands and feet. I'm happy they get to do new and exciting things but I'm sad that someone else gets to spend more time with them than me. I know they drive me nuts a lot....but I love them and can't stand the thought of them being hungry or scared at lunch....hate to think that some kid will say something to make them feel bad today, or tomorrow. A line from a song I really like goes "It hurts to grow up"...and it sure does. It's hard having to be the grown up and putting on a brave face...I obviously failed at that today. I'm not embarrassed about being that sad, but I'm embarrassed about not keeping it together when I needed to. I made one good decision today.....not to go and visit Ash when I knew that I'd just cry. Anyway, here's hoping tomorrow I can be a little more grown up.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

good times

The other day we took the kids to Chicago for a little family trip. We got a little lost at first...thanks to our possessed GPS...we really should not depend on that thing so much. Anyway, during the confusion Andrew so helpfully asked why we ALWAYS do this...get lost...that is. Imagine our surprise. US...GET LOST?!! Yes we tend to do that whenever we attempt to visit a big city. We did eventually make it to the Museum of Science and Industry, our intended destination. It was a lot of fun...not quite as fun as when I was a kid...things never are. The kids probably liked the submarine the most...here they are in front of it.

Andrew also really enjoyed the weather exhibit...which included a tornado like thing. When he was called up by the museum worker to make some observations...he looked a little panicked and tried to ask what an observation was while being pulled front and center. We knew he'd be ok.

One of these things is not like the other....one is a Holly.

After we got home I started going through the pictures we had taken that day and found these oldies but goodies from when we lived in Durham, NC. Hard to believe Andrew and Ashley were ever that young and innocent.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Hawaii and Back

Hawaii is the cure for what ails you. It certainly cured me of wanting to travel that far away pretty much ever again. Don't get me wrong...it was great...and it was beautiful...but there's always a price you pay and for Hawaii, I will not pay that price again. Jamaica...is another story...:D
Here is the first thing we saw on our way to Hawaii. American Airlines....has done us wrong for the last time. Unless, they make us an offer we can't refuse of course. ;)

On our flight out, we got to see the grand canyon out our window. I've never been so it was quite breathtaking. Thank you American airlines pilot for pointing it out..still not enough to make up for the wrongs. :)

Last year in Hawaii we had an ocean view room...this year it was mountain view. Both were awesome...as I love both the mountains and the ocean...I could wake up to this everyday..shocking I know.

We spent a lot of time at Waikiki beach. I always expect it to be more crowded...but it wasn't bad...there was always a spot for us along the beach.

I could rest on a palm tree daily....could you?

Here we are on Waikiki together.

And yet another

We spent most of our time at beach if you couldn't tell. We went to cheesecake factory almost every night for dinner....Oh how I love that place. We went body boarding...that was fun...but not for jokers. The ocean will show you no mercy..and the waves will keep coming. We went snorkeling twice. Snorkeling is my favorite. It doesn't take much to be "good" except maybe willingness. Overall it was a lovely trip. I could have done without the salt water up my nose...and subsequent sinus/ear pain nightmare...I could have done without the sun poisoning...and the cancelled flights. But I'm glad I went. I'm grateful for the troopers(my family) who took care of my 5 crazy kids so I could relax for a few days. That's no small task. I'm so glad to be home. I missed my kids like crazy...and it made me more grateful for them and my life here at home.